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STEPHEN ROLPHE POWELL

Stephen Powell was born in Alabama and resides in Kentucky, and is “from where either team is winning!”  He is the Professor of Art Glass at Centre College in Danville, KY, where he has taught since 1983.  In addition to this, Powell has taught and lectured extensively both nationally.

My blown work reflects my exploration and development of the asymmetrical forms that we started with the “Whacko” series. The asymmetry is tempered by the order of the pattern and the physical balance of the piece. Our nontraditional techniques of blowing glass have resulted in new technical challenges, such as developing the neck shape with the piece hanging upside down.  The postures of these pieces, hopefully, reflect liveliness that references cranes, storks and other long-necked creatures in nature.  Also, I am concerned with natural bulbous and linear sculptural shapes that reflect growth or inflation. A serendipitous result of the new forms has been the exposure of the insides of the pieces.  Color continues to inspire me. The recent sunrises and sunsets up on my knob (Kentucky small mountain or big hill) have been particularly brilliant and expressive because of frequent storms and, probably, global warming.

Working with my crew, not distracted by anything, being able to totally focus on the hot mass of molten glass on the end of the pipe, mesmerized by the pattern of murrine, this is what I want, time stands still or, at least, goes to slow motion. Working in the zone! I was drawn to the process of glassblowing because of the immediacy and intensity.  I have always been something of a pyromaniac, as my background in ceramics was mostly involved with the raku firing.  I do have a love of fire.

Fused Glass Panels by Stephen Rolfe Powell

While these glass panels are a departure from my more established blown glass pieces, they still address many of the same issues that have surrounded my work since the beginning of my career. They seem to take me back to my early “abstract expressionist” paintings that I was doing in the 1970’s, before I discovered glass. Then, and now, the great color field painters such as Gene Davis, Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis and Mark Rothko influenced me.  And, to some degree, Georges Seurat and the whole idea of the pointillist approach to color.

 I have always been intrigued by the emotive potential of color and its ability to have a positive intrinsic effect on the viewer.  I am interested in creating a pleasurable experience for the viewer that is based on beauty. I hope the viewer will be drawn in to the panels and take a very close look (microscopic) at the details, a somewhat cellular structuring of colored patterns that can be found throughout nature and science. I hope viewing these panels, both from afar and close-up, gives everyone a reprieve from whatever they might be dealing with, even just for a moment.

With the latest group of curved glass panels, I am continuing to explore various magnification points as I look for the perfect focal point.  Where does life began, where does it end?   How do we fit into the big bang, if there was one? These new arch forms reach out in to space and force viewer interaction.  Hopefully the viewer not only moves in and out of the piece but also back and forth, and up and down.  Arch forms, whether centenary or sprung, have always fascinated me because of their beauty and strength.

 

SELECTED PERMANENT COLLECTIONS AND EXHIBITIONS

Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
Grounds For Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ
H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani, Foreign Minister, Doha, Qatar
Haystack Mountain School, Deer Isle, ME
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Hunter Museum of American Art,Chattanooga, TN
Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL
Lamar Dodd Art Center, LaGrange, GA
Lvov Art Institute, Lvov, Ukraine
Mobile Museum of Fine Art, Mobile, AL
Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Montgomery, AL
Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Montgomery, AL
Muskegon Museum of Art,Muskegon MI
Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI
Red May Glass Museum, Vishny Volochok, Russia
Regent Hotel, Le Plume, Hong Kong
Sydney College of Art, Sydney, Australia
The Auckland Museum, Auckland, New Zealand
The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York
Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga, Australia
Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, Racine, WI

Stephen Rolfe Powell

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